Mowlem's Musings

Well, winter's definitely arrived to the good old UK, and my ALMS season is finally over. Actually, the weather wasn't much better in California at the Laguna Seca finale, as it started raining Saturday night during the race, and continued torrentially all the way through to Monday morning.

Mowlem's Musings

Still that didn't dampen our spirits although I have to admit that going through the famous "corkscrew" turn at night, in the rain, on slicks and with a fogged windscreen, wasn't one of my most enjoyable moments in a race car! Mind you, when you've experienced the wet Le Mans of 2001 that pretty much prepares you for anything!

Our whole team was very pleased with the result at Laguna. Not so much our finishing third (again!), but more the fact that we finished sixth overall behind only three prototypes and the Vettes, and that the Saleen S7R ran like clockwork thoughout. Also, going into the second hour of the four-hour race, we were only around 20 seconds behind the eventual GTS winners - Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell. Derk Hartland our Saleen engineer made the comment that if we'd been able to start from where we'd qualified (third), then we would have been running right with both Corvettes throughout the entire first stint.

Unfortunately, however, we'd had to start right at the back, as we'd failed the "stall test" after qualifying, which was a little ironic, because the temperature sensor that broke and fell out of the airbox causing it to leak in the first place, actually caused the engine mapping to retard, losing us engine power. Still, rules are rules, and I actually quite enjoyed coming through the GT and GTS field!

Terry then drove beautifully in the middle part of the race to double stint into the night, and then I got back in for the last hour. Lady Luck was a little against us at the end, because as I was just exiting the pitlane, IMSA threw a full course caution, and we straight away lost a lap to the Vettes, and then 15 minutes later when it started raining harder and everyone was still on slicks, they decided to go full-course yellow again, and because of our track position to the overall leader, we lost yet another lap!

The same thing happened at this point to a lot of people, including the overall leaders themselves. JJ Lehto and Marco Werner in their Audi R8, lost their lead under the final yellow to their sister Audi - Herbert and Kaffer - having led for virtually the entire race! Still, it made the end of the race a bit more exciting for all the spectators I'm sure.

The race was on Saturday to allow for the ALMS awards banquet on Sunday night, but before that, on Sunday afternoon, we had the all important annual football match, (soccer to you Americans!), between the drivers and the media. There was a lot of pride at stake on this one, as the drivers had lost last year and we didn't want to go down two years on the trot! But, despite our best efforts, and I have to say, heroic defending from Marc Lieb, Ollie Gavin, Patrick Long and my team-mate Terry Borcheller, we lost again! In my opinion this was down entirely to the fact that the media had snuck in three Mexican 18-year-old "ringers", so to only lose by the one goal I thought was a valiant effort by us. However, I knew we were in trouble when one of these kids took a throw in by forward somersaulting and proceeding to whip the ball in some 50 yards down the line, all in one smooth action! Still, we'll beat them next year for sure!

The awards banquet capped off a fine year, and it was very nice to see ACEMCO team owner Jeff Giangrande and his wife Cheryl invited up on stage to say a few words and receive the IMSA trophy for the top independent team of 2004. It was also very nice for Terry and I to get the third place driver's trophies and have a chance to thank some of the many people that made this year possible. Looking back at the season as a whole, seven podiums out of nine races, IMSA cup winners and third in the drivers' championship is not a bad season's work. Like in the football, in 2005 we'll beat them for sure!

shares
comments
Bobbi quickest in Dubai

Previous article

Bobbi quickest in Dubai

Next article

New Brundle/Blundell team

New Brundle/Blundell team
Load comments
The unwanted GT car that changed sportscar racing forever Plus

The unwanted GT car that changed sportscar racing forever

Had FIA GT boss Stephane Ratel had his way, the Maserati MC12 would never have been allowed to set foot in his series. It duly proved the class of the field that most had expected, but the Balance of Performance that its superiority spawned would keep GT1 battles tight and bring long-term benefits that sportscar racing enjoys today

GT
Sep 21, 2021
Why Britain's greatest sportscar was eclipsed on the world stage Plus

Why Britain's greatest sportscar was eclipsed on the world stage

The E-Type may be the most famous of all road-going Jaguars, but that didn't always translate into success on the track. After winning on its competition debut in 1961, motorsport success seemed an inevitability, but things didn’t turn out to be quite that straightforward

GT
Aug 6, 2021
Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60 Plus

Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60

It’s 60 years since the Jaguar E-type arrived and caused a sensation. As our resident racer Ben Anderson discovered when he got behind the wheel of two special racing versions at Brands Hatch, the thrill of driving them hasn't diminished over time

GT
Jul 31, 2021
The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat Plus

The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat

It's a significant achievement to win one 24-hour race in a year, let alone two, and with different manufacturers, but that's exactly what ROWE Racing did in 2020 at the Nurburgring and Spa. This weekend's German classic offers the DTM newcomer a chance of another unique double to add to its growing collection of accolades

GT
Jun 3, 2021
The new threat facing motorsport's greatest success story Plus

The new threat facing motorsport's greatest success story

The manufacturers were unconvinced – and even hostile – when Stephane Ratel launched GT3 in 2006. Now, 15 years on from its debut, they’ve sold more than 2000 cars and counting, but its continued expansion puts the increasingly globalised category at risk of losing its roots

GT
May 25, 2021
The Lamborghini teams plotting to stop a RAM raid on British GT Plus

The Lamborghini teams plotting to stop a RAM raid on British GT

With the Silver pairings that dominated 2020 now banned, Mercedes pair Yelmer Buurman and Ian Loggie could be in the box seat after winning last year's Pro-Am crown. But a swarm of Lamborghinis, with the defending outright champion among them, will ensure they face tough opposition

GT
May 21, 2021
How McLaren’s GT3 ‘single-seater’ defies expectations Plus

How McLaren’s GT3 ‘single-seater’ defies expectations

Time in a thoroughbred racer leaves you searching for time in yourself, especially when the rewards for total commitment are so high, as our man discovered at Snetterton

GT
Apr 28, 2021
How Ferrari's F1 protege became a Mercedes GT prodigy Plus

How Ferrari's F1 protege became a Mercedes GT prodigy

Raffaele Marciello once appeared to be Ferrari’s next Italian F1 star, but is now under the pay of its German arch-rival in GTs – and he’s very happy with his life

GT
Apr 8, 2021